Herrmann Law Group files wrongful death claim against Seattle

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Victim shot and killed just outside CHOP

By Matt Nagle

matt@tacomaweekly.com

Shown here in his little league football uniform, Lorenzo Anderson was just 19 years old when he died of multiple gunshot wounds while units of the Seattle Fire Department and Seattle Police Department failed to assist him as he lay bleeding to death. Credit: Courtesy of Donnitta Sinclair

The Herrmann Law Group has filed a claim against the City of Seattle, King County, and Washington State for the wrongful death of 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson. The claim alleges Seattle officials created a dangerous environment and city personnel failed to protect or medically assist Anderson. The claim is a legal prelude to a lawsuit. 

In the early morning of June 20, 2020, Anderson was shot multiple times. The shooting occurred just outside the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, also known as CHOP, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. According to media and witness reports, units of the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) and Seattle Police Department (SPD) miscommunicated with each other and failed to assist Anderson as he lay bleeding to death. 

A video indicates SFD and SPD personnel knew Anderson was shot and in need of medical assistance. Circulating on social media, the video shows a man yelling at SFD medics sitting in an ambulance. “You guys could be saving this man’s life right now…. You could be saving his life. You could be saving his life…. Sir, please explain, what’s going on? He’s dying. He needs your help.” 

The ambulance driver appears to use his two-way radio to confirm he does not have clearance to assist. SFD was apparently waiting for SPD support, which never arrived. Civilians eventually drove Anderson to Harborview Medical Center in a pick-up truck. He reportedly died at the hospital.

Anderson’s mother, who works with at-risk youth wants answers for her son’s death. “Explain to me why they didn’t go in there and help my son.”

Anderson, who went by his middle name of Lorenzo, recently graduated from the Interagency Academy’s Youth Education Program, an alternative high school in Seattle. Since his death, former teachers and others have praised his “positive spirit” and “contagious smile.” 

Sinclair’s lawyers, Lara Herrmann and Mark Lindquist of the Herrmann Law Group, have issued a joint statement calling for justice and answers. “The actions and inaction of city officials have been outrageous in numerous ways. Lorenzo’s family needs justice. The community needs the truth. Seattle government needs to be more transparent and accountable.” 

The SPD East Precinct, less than two blocks from where Anderson lay bleeding, was abandoned about 10 days before the shooting. During an eight-day period, there were five shootings in the CHOP area with six victims. Anderson was the first. City officials gave conflicting accounts of why he was denied medical assistance. 

“Lorenzo’s life matters,” Herrmann said. “Our client deserves to know the truth about what happened to her son.” 

Lindquist, the former elected Prosecutor of Pierce County, well known for his strong commitment to public safety, said an incident like this was foreseeable. 

“City officials abandoned an area, but they had no plan to deliver essential services into the area. They were more focused on politics than public safety. One day it’s a ‘summer of love,’ the next day it’s too dangerous for police and medics?” 

On June 11, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best publicly denied giving the order to retreat from the East Precinct. She blamed city leaders for bowing to “severe public pressure.” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also denied giving the order. The politics surrounding the decision to abandon the area and the lack of medical assistance for Anderson are still unclear. 

“We’ve been told fire department medics wanted to help Lorenzo,” Herrmann said, “but there was a lack of preparation and coordination among city agencies.” 

Police did not reclaim the East Precinct until after the final shooting incident on June 29, which left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old wounded. Police returned to their building and dismantled CHOP on July 1 with no serious injuries to either police or protestors. 

Herrmann and Lindquist asked anyone who has information or evidence regarding the death of Lorenzo Anderson to contact the Herrmann Law Group at www.hlg.lawyer. 

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